Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 16, 2007

State cannot afford to expand Medicaid

It's disappointing that The Sun's editorial "Health care or stall" (Feb. 9) took state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller to task for refusing to consider a bill to raise cigarette taxes and use part of that money to fund an expansion of Medicaid coverage.

Whatever Mr. Miller's reason for opposing the new spending, he should be applauded, not disparaged. Expanding Medicaid coverage is a bad idea for Maryland taxpayers.

Maryland is facing a large budget shortfall, which is largely the result of projected increases in Medicaid spending.

It would thus be unwise to further add to Medicaid's burden on our state budget.

The editorial repeats the claim of advocates that the increased cigarette tax would pay for expanding enrollment. What it overlooks is that Maryland will not have enough revenue to pay for its current projected rate of spending. It makes no sense to add to this shortfall.

Supporters of increasing taxes on cigarettes claim it would bring in about $170 million in new revenue a year.

But with Medicaid spending projected to increase $300 million from 2007 to 2008, and more in the years after that, a new cigarette tax would do little to reduce our deficit.

Expanding access to Medicaid would be bad for our state's fiscal future. The General Assembly would be wise to take steps to slow the growth of the program, not expand it.

Marc Kilmer

Germantown

The writer is a senior fellow at the Maryland Public Policy Institute.

Putin told the truth on U.S. militarism

Think what you will about Russian President Vladimir V. Putin (and much of the criticism of him is certainly legitimate, considering his repression of dissent by individuals and the Russian media), but his criticism of U.S. policy at an international security forum in Munich, Germany, was right on target ("U.S. inciting militarism, Putin argues," Feb. 11).

As he said, "The almost uncontained hyper use of power in international relations" by the United States "is nourishing the wish of countries to get nuclear weapons."

Further, Mr. Putin states, "Unilateral, illegitimate actions have not solved a single problem; they have become a hotbed of further conflicts."

The truth at times is evoked from strange and unexpected quarters - but there it is, boldly stated. Meanwhile, here in the United States, we are subject and witness to a president and vice president who are discredited for leading us into an unnecessary war under false pretexts and are deciding to escalate that war in complete disregard of the will of the people.

Dave Lefcourt

Ellicott City

Squeezing ex-Mid for dollars isn't right

To defile, discredit and discount a midshipman's education because he was unable to pass a physical fitness test in his senior year is ludicrous and beyond understanding ("$32,000 added to debt owed by Mid expelled for failing running test," Feb. 13).

One wonders if those in command can still meet all the required physical demands. And surely the value of an officer to the military goes beyond his or her ability to make a run within a prescribed period of time.

It is time for the Navy to abandon this archaic, unfair, outdated and biased mentality and to reinstate this midshipman to the rank he deserves and offer a sincere apology for the unnecessary agony he and his family have been forced to endure.

Adele E. Hammerman

Baltimore

IB program provides global perspective

Thank you for the excellent article on the International Baccalaureate program at Baltimore City College ("Elite program in dispute," Feb. 10).

The pros and cons of an extremely rigorous curriculum such as IB deserve full debate.

From our child's experience, we would emphasize one point: The IB program provides outstanding support to teachers and students.

In our experience, IB also offers a true intellectual challenge and an important global perspective that Americans desperately need as we confront a rapidly changing world.

Charlie Cooper Joan Cooper Baltimore

The writers' daughter graduated from City College High School last May.

Shilling for lenders hurts needy families

Kudos to Dan Rodricks for his critical look at Peyton Manning's credit card endorsements ("Manning should be sacked for his shilling," Feb. 4).

Family deficits, lack of savings and planning for retirement, college student debt and credit card debt all suggest an emerging debt crisis for more and more American families.

Mr. Manning's humorous ads promote personal debt and thus do more harm than good.

The certified public accountant profession - led locally by the Maryland Association of CPAs and its nearly 9,000 members - is fighting this emerging crisis through a concentrated effort to make Americans more financially astute.

These campaigns are a starting point on the road to financial security.

If we could persuade a few more journalists like Mr. Rodricks and high-profile celebrities like Mr. Manning to take up the cause, Americans everywhere might be looking at a much brighter financial future.

Tom Hood

Towson

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